In celebration of our first Spring Break since high school, we drove down to the northern portion of the Oregon Coast. Grandma and Grandpa Francis were already on a longer road trip from Montana, so it was a great opportunity to spend a few days with them!
Courtesy of my friends at Wikipedia, this view is what our vacation included. (No shame.) It really is uniquely beautiful! It is still a bit chilly and a lot rainy in March, so we will be back in the summer.
We stayed in Tillamook, Oregon. (Like the cheese. Except unfortunately the factory was closed for renovations.) We spent two full days exploring the coast between Pacific City and Seaside. The first was perfectly sunny (yet imperfectly windy). Unfortunately the second was nothing-but-rain.
Grandma Francis gave Owen his favorite present though -- the boots in the picture above. Owen had the time of his life stomping through puddles and shallow ocean without suffering the usual soggy-socked consequences!
Owen also loves dogs, and really enjoyed the excitement of three dogs constantly running around him. You can see above that he loved the idea of having his very own dog (as opposed to arriving dog-less to a dog park in an attempt to play with others' dogs -- our typical approach). He and the dogs didn't always agree on which direction to go.
But both Owen and the puppy Robbie loved competing over snacks!
A stream running across the beach and into the ocean at Hug Point.
Owen had a hard time anticipating incoming waves, so Grandma helped with ocean exploration.
Owen LOVED the sand ... until he later realized he was messy.
Enjoying a short hike to the ocean at Arch Cape.
Lots of "knee slappers" with Grandpa.
... and computer science classes.
Wrapping up the day with more puppy time.
Here is the superb Day 2 weather I mentioned! It didn't keep us from checking out Cape Meares Lighthouse though.
The coast at Cape Meares.
As we tried to keep up with my parents on the road through the heavy rain, they decided to test our car's suspension by taking a long, dirt road into the forest. It was definitely worth the drive and hike in the rain to get to Munson Creek Falls though!
Everywhere you looked was another shade of green, and Owen couldn't wait to take off and explore.
Munson Creek Falls through the rain.
(Caitlin wants it clearly stated that she is wearing a down coat under her rain coat.)
Denny's had some amazing deals running, and it basically became our second home. No one complained!
Owen was all worn out and ready for the drive back to Seattle. (But really, he slept from Tillamook to Tacoma.)
Owen loves balls. Any time he sees anything remotely spherical, he gets excited: "BALL?!"
He also seems relatively interested when I am watching basketball games on TV, so we decided to go to UW's final women's regular-season home game and see if he would enjoy it.
We thought Owen could roam freely around the top of the stands if he got bored, but we were surprised and worried to see that the arena was almost at capacity! (We forgot that UW is actually really good this year, and that they would be honoring the seniors this game.) We didn't know if Owen would make it through the whole game.
It was incredible: two hours of Owen being completely riveted by the game. He didn't turn his attention from the game once until almost the very end.
We tried to preemptively give him fruit snacks to keep him happy throughout the game, but he held the first fruit snack we gave him in his had for the entire game without eating it. Too exciting for snacks!
It was an amazing game to attend in person, but poor Owen got a little scared toward the end. Our star player, Kelsey Plum, was on pace to break the all-time scoring record for college basketball before the end of the postseason. Instead of waiting, however, she managed to score 57 points and break the record during the game! As she got closer, the crowd went wild with every basket she scored. It was exciting for us (I felt a fraction of what Jimmermania must have been like when I was away from BYU), but Owen was so startled every time the crowd erupted.
Despite the surprises, Owen loved the experience. It was definitely a successful family event!
Christmas was a hit. Owen had no issues embracing the concept of people spoiling him with treats and presents.
Owen waking up on Christmas morning!
Waiting to go check out his presents!
Owen has been enthralled by dogs since we can remember, and he IMMEDIATELY took to his stuffed doggie from Santa.
Christmas orange! (Stolen, not gifted.)
By the end of the vacation, Owen had managed to steal and mutilate all 3 lbs of Cuties. Good thing he, himself, is cute.
Ready to leave for Church! (Owen apparently hit his forehead on something, but I can't remember what anymore. He has hit his head on about 716,937 things in the three months since Christmas. We are great parents, okay?)
In addition to Christmas Day, we had lots of fun enjoying the perks of sunny California!
While walking around the block, Owen realized he has a shadow. Trying to grab it proved tricky though. (Don't judge him; shadows don't exist in Seattle.)
Owen was a big fan of sand.
Fun - 1, Car seat cleanliness - 0.
My fragile little ankles lasted about 4 seconds in the freezing ocean, so Aunt Kirsten had to take over.
Owen was pretty lucky and got lots of auntie time.
Hanging out with Aunt Erin.
Walking around the block with Aunt Mary Joy.
We also enjoyed the warm weather by power walking through the park.
We could have saved a lot of money on Christmas gifts had we known pine cones were just as fun. At least we found out early though. I already have his Christmas pine cones for the next 17 years stashed away.
Owen also logged a few hours of behind-the-wheel time for his driver's permit on Aunt Erin's new Mustang. He likes to get a head start on important things.
Owen "helping" Grandpa with dishes. He is best at unloading dirty dishes onto the floor.
He is our most considerate child.
California also helped us realize that Owen may need his first haircut...
After all that fun, everyone was pretty tuckered out!